Your curbside mailbox is the first impression your guests (and neighbors) have of your residence. So the proper installation of your residential Post Mount Mailbox can make a huge difference in how people perceive your home.
To understand how to install a curbside mailbox, here are the primary steps you should take before you did your mailbox post hole:
Common Step #1: Contact your local United States Post Office (USPS) for proper mailbox placement rules and measurements (ask for mailbox mounting height and mailbox distance from road or curb). The typical mailbox mounting height is normally between 40” to 44”. The typical mailbox setback is normally between 6” to 8” from the curb. (Be sure to contact your local post office as mailbox placement regulations do vary throughout the United States).
Common Step #2: Before you dig call your local utility locating service by dialing 811. Utility locating services are throughout most of the United States.
Common Step #3: Wear proper protective eyewear and gloves during mailbox installation. Secure the digging area so that no child or adult is endangered by an unprotected, open hole.
Common Step #4: Dig an 8” to 10” diameter hole for the mailbox post at least two feet deep with a clamshell digger (or you can rent a gas-powered post-hole digger (auger) from a local equipment rental yard.
For Wood Mailbox Posts Only:
Add six inches to the hole depth if you are using a wooden mailbox post so that you can fill the bottom six inches of the hole with rock (any type of rock is fine) to allow water to drain. Placing rocks in the bottom of the hole allows water to drain away quickly from the bottom of the mailbox post and will reduce the possibility of the bottom of your post rotting.
Once you have located the spot where you will install your Residential Mailbox, there are two very different, yet equally effective, approaches to actually completing your mailbox post installation. Which mailbox installation method should you use? Your choice depends much on your own personality. The two approaches are called:
The Farmer Method of Mailbox Post Installation
One of the most common approaches to installing a mailbox post is very similar to the way a farmer sets a fence post. You could call this method the “Get-er-done” approach to residential mailbox installation. The farmer method of mailbox post installation is quick, easy, and gets the job done. If you are looking for a fast way to mount your mailbox post and prefer a more natural look (no concrete) at the base of the mailbox post, follow the farmer method.
The Engineer Method of Mailbox Post Installation
Another common approach for installing a residential mailbox is very similar to the exact step-by-step methods that engineers utilize to ensure consistency. It’s not as fast as the farmer approach but if you prefer a more finished concrete look at the base of the mailbox post, use this approach for your residential mailbox post installation.
To highlight the differences between the two common approaches on how to install a mailbox post we’ve placed the mailbox post installation instructions below.
Step One: Fill bottom third of mailbox post hole with water.
Step Two: Set the mailbox post in the hole. If you need to lengthen your post, screw a 4×4 block of wood, cut to the length you desire, to the bottom of the post.
Step Three: Pour dry concrete mix into the hole. Most mailbox post installations require a 60 lb. bag of dry concrete. Pour a little more water on top of the concrete mix. The concrete mix in the ground will soak in both the water you poured earlier in the bottom and the water from the top.
Step Four: Plumb the mailbox post using a post level tool (to ensure post is perfectly vertical to the ground below). Tip: Use a rubber band around the post level tool and post to free up your hands as you eyeball the level and move the plumb position.
Step Five: Pack topsoil tightly around the mailbox post to hold it secure while the concrete sets.
Step Six: For best results, wait 24 hours before mounting your residential mailbox on top of the post. If the outside temperature is less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the concrete to set an additional two hours for each degree under 45 degrees.
Step Seven: Follow manufacturer’s installation directions to mount your residential post mount mailbox to the top of your post.
Step One: Set the mailbox post into the hole, mounting-end up. Align the face of the post toward the direction you wish to mount the mailbox door or receiving end of the mailbox. If you are using a round metal pole, this may not matter. If you need to lengthen your post, screw a 4×4 block of wood, cut to the length you desire, to the bottom of the post.
Step Two: Tie four five foot long, 3mm to 5mm diameter ropes or strings to top of the mailbox post and extend each rope out in four equidistant directions. Anchor each end with a tent stake.
Step Three: Once the pole is set, pour six inches of mixed concrete into the hole. The consistency of the concrete should be similar to chunky peanut butter. Do not get in a hurry and fill the entire hole – the idea here is to get enough concrete into the hole that the mailbox post can be plumbed (vertically leveled) but not so much concrete that you cannot move the post. Six inches is often the right amount.
Step Four: Once you get your initial six inches of concrete into the hole and around the mailbox post, allow the cement to set up for approximately 25-30 minutes.
Step Five: Plumb the mailbox post using a post level tool (to ensure post is perfectly vertical to the ground below). Tip: Use a rubber band around the post level tool and post to free up your hands.
Step Six: Once you have plumbed the post, adjust the tension on the ropes to hold the mailbox post in the desired position.
Step Seven: Once the anchor ropes have been set, choose one of these two alternatives: (1) either fill the remainder of the hole with cement and trowel finish the top of the cement with the ground for a concrete-finished look; or, (2) fill the remainder of the hole except for the final four inches. Then backfill the final four inches with topsoil and/or sod to mask the concrete below. Remember, this will result in a constant need to weed around the post.
Step Eight: For best results, wait 24 hours before removing the ropes and tent stakes. If the outside temperature is under 45 degrees farenheit, allow the concrete to set an additional two hours for each degree under 45 degrees.
Step Nine: Follow manufacturer’s mailbox installation instructions to mount your residential post mount mailbox to the top of your post.
Either way you choose to install your residential mailbox post, be sure to send a photo of your completed curbside mailbox installation projectto firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to show off your new residential post mount mailbox in our curbside Mailboxes photo gallery.
Written By Robert Urgo